Carlson pleads guilty to manslaughter in Marty Cook death

A former Grand Forks resident has pleaded guilty to a lesser charge in the death of another former resident.

Martin Cook

Former Grand Forks resident Kenneth Carlson has pleaded guilty to manslaughter in the death of Martin Cook.

Originally charged with second-degree murder, Carlson, 52, pleaded guilty to a lesser charge when he appeared in Peace River, Alta. provincial court last Friday, Sept. 23.

“With heartache and disbelief we have waited over a year since this hideous and senseless crime was committed against Marty,” Marie Seymour said in an email.

Seymour is sister of the victim.

“Marty was a kind, gentle, and loving person with an incredible sense of humour. Our loss is immeasurable.”

Carlson and Cook, also a former resident, were last seen together in Cook’s truck in Hines Creek, Alta., on Aug. 12, 2010.

On Aug. 14, 2010, one of the men’s debit cards was used at a Fas Gas service station in Manning, about 100 kilometres northeast of Hines Creek. That same day, Fairview RCMP reported the two men missing.

Carlson was found with Cook’s missing truck at an isolated oil lease northwest of Manning on Aug. 19, 2010. After leading police to Cook’s body, located west of Hines Creek, Carlson was charged with second-degree murder.

“He took my brother’s life in a horrible and violent manner and as previous news reports have pointed out, he then confessed to his crime and led police to where he dumped Marty’s body like a bag of garbage,” stated Seymour.

Autopsy revealed Cook had been stabbed to death multiple times.

“If there is to be any healing from this real life nightmare, we need to see that Ken Carlson is put behind bars and made to pay for his horrendous actions,” she continued.

A sentence hearing in Peace River will be determined when a pre-sentence report is submitted by Nov. 4.

Justice V.O. Ouellette accepted Carlson’s guilty plea, but stated if he believes a second-degree murder charge is warranted, he can overrule the manslaughter plea and charge him as such.

“Our Canadian Justice System is seriously inadequate, outdated, and damaging to families who are victims of violent crimes,” Seymour went on to write.

“There is an urgent need for changes so that people aren’t made to suffer over and over again like my family and many families before us, has had to do.”

Carlson’s bail conditions have not changed and will continue until the November sentence hearing.